Puako is the area where you'll find Hapuna Beach
which most Big Island visitors have heard about. It might be the best beach on the island and if you haven't been there before you should check it out. Hapuna's little brother is known as "Beach 69
" to locals, but is signed Waialea Bay at the entrance. It has less sand, but has shade trees and a much quieter vibe than Hapuna. Both of these excellent beaches are part of Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area and have abundant parking so you can expect to get a spot even when the nearby resort lots are full. If you want an even quieter experience, look for the many Shoreline Public Access signs along Puako Beach Drive
and get away from the crowds. The first access on this road has a sandy beach, but most of the others have water access with little sand (still great for sunsets). Expert snorkelers will enjoy the reef along Puako Beach Drive. If you need snacks or supplies during the day stop into Puako General Store to complete the experience of Puako.